Country: Italy
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: June-September
Shoulder Season: November-March
Median Temperature: 14.00 C / 57.2 F
Main Languages: Venetian, Italian, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Waterbus, water taxi, gondola, traghetto
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $200.00/day
Tourist Passes: Venice Card
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Ahh, Venice – the pinnacle of romance, life afloat Mediterranean waters – and don’t forget the sultry view whilst aboard gondolas. It’s also one of the most expensive cities to live in Europe chiefly because of meticulous indoor plumbing and the surcharges Venetian merchants add to their perishables and dry goods. Hotels aren’t an exception either, as a few are known to charge a whopping 1000 euro for a single night’s stay – and almost every condiment (soap, shampoo, and towels) are delivered via boat. Heck, almost every product is delivered via gondolas or galleys. And gondoliers charge a pretty steep value for their services since they have no stiff competition, as Venetian alleys can’t accommodate big commercial boats. Nonetheless, Venice is always referenced in popular culture as one of the most beautiful cities to live in and come to as a tourist.

Venice is one of 911 UNESCO World Heritage Sites as of 2010. Its cultural importance in the refinement of art, music, and other contemporaries is evidenced by both:

1. Venetian music – The incorporation of romantic lutes and organs into opera houses and deeply resonating church music. Up to this, we don’t know a single home in the city where there is no musical instrument. Venetians love music, and are deeply rooted to it.

2. Venetian art – their art is – how do we put it – renaissance at its finest. A fierce competitor of Rome and Florence in the 15th century, Venetian painter Titian exuded the value of using a whole gamut of colors over impeccability and anatomy, which Rome was hailed for.

Packing List

  • Walking shoes/sandals and decent or “smug” clothing; lose the “city look” by not wearing sneakers, jeans or any denim apparel; svelte apparel is in, so dress dashingly
  • Walking shoes/sandals and decent or “smug” clothing; lose the “city look” by not wearing sneakers, jeans or any denim apparel; svelte apparel is in, so dress dashingly
  • Dramamine or Bonine for motion sickness while on a waterbus or gondola; relatively few people know they have seasickness until they’ve actually been on a boat
  • Ziplocked meals and snacks to last day walks; a cookbook will also help if you plan to buy from the Rialto Food Market to make your own snack/dish
  • A decent camera, lots of memory/batteries, portable electronics; a citywide Wi-Fi service has been deployed in 2009, which is free for residents but charges 5 EUR for tourists

Things to Do

  • Visiting St. Mark’s Basilica, plush with Byzantine iconography; it is distinct for its oft-copied campanile, gold-studded interior domes and being Venice’s only cathedral
  • Frolicking around famed St. Mark’s square and getting lost in the nearby streets and alleys; the piazza is known for its unique pavement, historic buildings, and hordes of tourists it draws
  • Entering the Doge’s (Duke’s) Palace; this 14th century building once served as a political/aristocratic residence; the Bridge of Sighs connects the palace to the New Prison
  • Exploring the Venetian Ghetto, the Jews’ forced place of residence during the Republic; today, the Ghetto still functions as a residential/commercial Jewish neighborhood
  • Shopping for produce and dry goods at the Rialto Market, one of the pedestals of Italian commerce; also located here is the Rialto Bridge, considered by many as the “face” of Venice

DON'T

  • Be forced to hop on the gondola rides if you don’t have the excess money to shell out; there are plenty of romantic itineraries in Venice other than the boats, canals and piers
  • Dine at a fancy restaurant during 6-8pm; since it’s cocktail hour at that time, expect dishes to shrink and prices to double; restaurants near Piazza San Marco charge higher than outlying eateries
  • Be forced to speak Italian/Venetian; the people are appreciative of efforts trying to speak the language, but they are as astute in English as most Europeans
  • Dine evenings at a fancy restaurant without making a reservation, or else get the least favorable spot; Italians observe siestas, so establishments might be closed from 1 to 4pm
  • Cause a ruckus inside a museum or church; dress sharp, tone down your voice, and turn off any smartphones that might disturb the venue